The GCC Salary Increase Survey carried out by the global talent, retirement and health solutions business of Aon covered 600 multinational companies and locally owned conglomerates, the largest study of its kind in the Gulf region. For the region, the survey showed salary increases will average 5 percent in 2016, down from an anticipated 6 percent in 2013, 5.5 percent in 2014 and 5.1 percent in 2015.
Among the participating GCC organisations, Kuwait-based companies gave the highest salary increase projection for 2016 at 5.2percent. This is a slight decrease on 2015’s 5.3 percent predicted raise. Kuwait’s actual salary increase figure for 2015 stands at 4.7 percent.
Meanwhile, companies based in Bahrain predicted the lowest increases in the Gulf region at 4.7 percent, which is slightly higher than last year’s predictions of 4.5percent.In 2015, Bahrain-based firms reported actual salary increases at 4.7 percent.
Omani firms, on the other hand, estimated 5 percent salary growth for 2016, lower than 2015 predictions which stood at 5.4 percent. Actual salary increase figures for 2015 stood at 4.6 percent.
UAE companies also projected 5 percent growth for 2016, up from the 4.8 percent projection made for 2015, while firms in Saudi Arabia forecast a 5.1 percent figure for 2016 — down by 0.3 percent on this year’s 5.4 percent projection. In terms of actual increases for 2015, however, the UAE stands at 4.8 percent while Saudi Arabia recorded the highest level of actual pay rises at 5.2 percent for this year.
Drop in GDP
Clearly, the impact of lower oil prices can be felt across the region, with governments cutting back on subsidies, reducing spending on larger projects and thinking about introducing some form of taxation. All these factors will have a direct or indirect effect on industry sectors, and will continue to put pressure on profit margins and operating costs for organisations.
Despite this, the GCC is faring much better than other oil producing countries in the Middle East and predicted increases in compensation will also help to ease inflationary pressures on employees while markets rebound.
Salary increase factors
Robert Richter, GCC Compensation Survey Manager, Aon Hewitt Middle East, said: “Salary increases typically take into consideration a number of other factors which go beyond the general economic climate. These include company performance, the need to reflect promotions and the need to ensure that employees at the same grade remain within a single pay band. Overall the outlook for 2016 may not be as positive as recent years, but the news that employers are predicting salary increases in the 5percent range next year should come as a comfort to employees, suggesting that there is still optimism in the market.”